A lot of pieces go into a well-functioning dairy operation, and staying up to date can be a challenge.

When is the right time to update equipment? How do I make priorities to stay within my budget while not falling behind? Lynn Tjaden, Dairy Solutions Manager at BouMatic, gives his Top 10 tips to think about when planning your upgrades.

1. Technology

Technology is constantly changing, from components that make up the hardware to algorithms in software and apps. “It’s not a question of if equipment becomes outdated, even obsolete,” Tjaden said. “It’s a matter of when that happens. Plan ahead. See how modern solutions may help you.”

2. Condition

Repair, replace or rebuild? It’s the constant question. Depending on care and maintenance, you can get a lot of productive years from your dairy barn. Careful and repeated inspections answer many questions for you.

“If your stalls are rusted through or getting to that point, broken off at the floor, harming the cows or potentially harming the operators, it’s past time to update,” Tjaden said.

BouMatic stalls are adaptable to many existing parlor designs from front-end conversions to expansions to a combination. Most BouMatic dealerships are extremely well versed in updating existing parlors to help you get a few more years of service out of your infrastructure.

3. Efficiency

Efficiency is really a subset of technology. There have been many improvements in milk harvest equipment. “BouMatic’s ‘Gently, Quickly and Completely’ tag-line is more than words,” Tjaden said. “We lead the industry in milk harvest equipment such as the Evolution Pulsator, Xtreme milking claw, Magnum Turbo liners and more.” Small upgrades in cowside procedures and equipment can result in huge gains: faster milking, more milk, lower cell counts, to name a few.

4. Expansion

Larger herds, better cows, more milk: If you must milk more cows per hour, BouMatic has proven solutions for converting or expanding existing parlors. “Combined with improved milk harvest equipment, we can transform a dairy into a modern milking center,” Tjaden said. “BouMatic’s Xcalibur 90LX provides the commercial duty solution to increasingly larger herd sizes.”

5. Age

Maintenance and repair can help your equipment last many years, but in the end, Father Time always wins. “If your facilities are simply too old to keep up, that might be a sign it’s time to update,” Tjaden said. “BouMatic’s GT2 can transform a stanchion barn or flat barn into a modern, efficient milking center.”

6. Production

If your herd production is strong, it’s a good time to assess your current equipment. There is a good possibility you could realize even higher production with procedural or equipment upgrades.

“Don’t let these things become limiting factors to your production,” Tjaden said. “BouMatic dealers are fully trained to show how upgrading equipment can make a difference. Starting with a comprehensive system analysis, our dealers can show you how better vacuum systems, larger milking systems and improved pulsation and milking clusters can save you time and money.”

7. Time

Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done. But if “sometimes” is closer to “all the time” for you, think about an investment to give yourself the freedom to focus on neglected areas of your operation or even have some personal time. “Is there not enough day left to get the entire herd through the milking center? Extreme demands may require a totally new milking center, BouMatic can help you find the solution that best fits your needs,” Tjaden said.

8. Labor

Labor has always been a challenge for dairy operations, but for many today it has become a crisis. Upgrading your dairy can not only lower your labor needs, but it also provides a more positive work environment for the people you have. “Equipment upgrades can make milking faster, safer and more productive,” Tjaden said. “Creating an inviting work environment for your employees will have a positive effect on your operation.”

9. Management

“To fulfill your management needs one must take a hard look at all the systems that impact the herd and the operators/employees,” Tjaden said. Understanding how those systems interact, identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies, are difficult tasks. Technology can gather all the information you need, but being able to use that information is equally important. Boumatic’s SmartConnect and SmartDairy systems can be tailored to sort, highlight and arrange the specific data you want in a way that is easy to understand and act on.

10. Goals

BouMatic and its network of authorized dealerships lead the industry in helping dairies achieve their goals and objectives, whether it’s improving milk quality, providing solutions to help in reproduction goals or equipment that improves your feeding and nutrition. “We have a proven track record of being a valuable asset for our customers,” Tjaden said. “Not one solution fits all situations which is why we have many solutions to fit your dairy improvement goals.